Falls Prevention: 5 Ways to Make Your Home Safer

September shines a spotlight on a prevalent issue older adults face – falls. Falls Prevention Awareness Month is a timely reminder for all of us to evaluate the safety of our homes. With falls being the leading cause of non-fatal injuries in older adults, as highlighted by the CDC, the importance of creating a safer home environment cannot be stressed enough.

Accidents at home can be debilitating, especially for the elderly. A fall might seem like a minor mishap, but it can lead to severe injuries, prolonged hospital stays, and a significant dent in one's savings. The CDC alerts us that falls dominate the charts regarding non-fatal injuries and subsequent hospital admissions for older adults. With these alarming statistics, it's crucial to be proactive in reducing the risks at home. Here are five practical steps to ensure your living space is as safe as possible.

Infographic on Falls Prevention: 5 Ways to Make Your Home Safer

1. Install Grab Bars in the Bathroom:

Bathrooms – the silent danger zones. Wet floors, slippery tiles, and hard surfaces make bathrooms one of the most hazardous places in a home. Consider installing sturdy grab bars near the shower, bathtub, and toilet. These bars provide the necessary support, assisting in balance maintenance, especially when the floor is wet or when someone is feeling dizzy.

2. Clear Clutter:

An organized home is not just aesthetically pleasing; it's safer too. Unintentionally leaving items lying around or having too many furniture pieces can turn into potential tripping hazards. Periodically declutter your home, ensuring that pathways, hallways, and common areas are free from obstacles. Remember, a clear path is a safe path.

3. Improve Lighting:

Good lighting is paramount in preventing missteps. Dimly lit areas, especially on stairs or in hallways, can make it difficult to notice potential hazards. Invest in brighter bulbs and consider adding extra lighting fixtures in areas that need it. Nightlights in hallways and bathrooms can also make nighttime navigation much safer.

4. Secure Rugs and Carpets:

Aesthetically, rugs and carpets add warmth and style to a home. However, if not secured properly, they can be dangerous slipping or tripping hazards. Ensure that the edges of rugs are taped down with double-sided tape or secured with non-slip mats. Checking them periodically to ensure they're firmly in place is a good habit to develop.

5. Use Non-Slip Mats in Wet Areas:

Water and smooth surfaces are not a good combination when it comes to safety. Wet areas, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and home entryways, are prime spots for slips. To reduce this risk, place non-slip mats in these zones. These mats provide the needed grip, drastically reducing the chance of a fall.

A safer home is an achievable goal. With a few modifications and by staying vigilant, you can significantly reduce the risk of falls.